July 26, 2012 Subject:
The enduring popularity of this book, both in print and now here in free-to-download digital format, is easily explained. While the style may seem a little heavy and the sentences can be long and complex, it is a unique and precious personal record of Japan at the end of the Shogunate (Bakumatsu) and the start of the Meiji era through foreign eyes. It is mainly based on Ernest Satow's own diaries for the time, as explained by the author in the Preface. He started in Japan as a student interpreter in September 1862, just after the Namamugi Incident which he describes.